Out Of Abundance Of Caution, Opioid Trial Delayed Due To Coronavirus

Out of Abundance of Caution, Opioid Trial Delayed Due to Coronavirus

Judge Implies He Does Not Intend to Delay Trial Minute Longer Than Necessary

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today released the following statement after the Honorable Vito C. Caruso, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Courts Outside New York City, announced that — out of an abundance of caution — the trial against multiple opioid manufacturers and distributors set to begin on March 20, 2020 will be delayed due to the ongoing risk posed by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):

“New York’s opioid trial will have the eyes of the nation on it and we very much expect individuals from around the country to be in attendance. Out of an abundance of caution, we fully accept and agree with the court’s decision to delay a trial against the opioid manufacturers and distributors until the ongoing risk of coronavirus subsides. While our first duty must be to ensure the safety of every individual in attendance at trial, as the court stated today, this trial will not be delayed a single minute longer than necessary. Once the threat of COVID-19 dies down, the deadly scheme perpetrated by these companies will be presented in open court and laid bare before the American people. We are committed to holding each of these companies responsible for their role in the opioid crisis, and will continue fighting for justice for victims.”

Judge Jerry Garguilo — who will oversee the trial — scheduled a controlled date conference on April 14, 2020 to determine next steps and set a more concrete schedule for trial.

Last March, Attorney General James filed the nation’s most comprehensive lawsuit against multiple opioid manufacturers and distributors. The defendants in the suit included Purdue Pharma, its affiliates, and the Sackler family; Janssen Pharmaceuticals and its affiliates (including its parent company Johnson & Johnson); Mallinckrodt LLC and its affiliates; Endo Health Solutions and its affiliates; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and its affiliates; and Allergan Finance, LLC and its affiliates. The distributors named in the complaint are McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation, and Rochester Drug Cooperative Inc. 

The courts have previously denied multiple attempts by defendants — including one last week — to delay the trial for other reasons.

When the trial resumes, all manufacturers and distributors other than Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family will participate. The case against Purdue and the Sacklers is moving separately through U.S. Bankruptcy Court.